Is your blog Reader-Centric? Yuk, I know, horrible buzz word, but stay with me!
What I am asking is important to your blog success; how well do you cater for your reader when working on your blog?
In the programming world people talk about “user centric” where the users needs are elevated and in customer service people like to think of their systems and procedures as being “customer centric” where the needs of customers come first. It’s all about prioritizing the end user, the person who you wanted to attract and serve in the first place.
We might think we are being reader centric with our blogs, but there are tensions and motivations in blogging that pull us away from this goal.
Of course there are many types of blog. My personal blog is written with no audience goals, no monetization goals, no agenda. It just is what it is. As Lorelle says, some people build blogs for their own needs.
Most of us though are looking to attract and entertain, inform or communicate with an audience. This means the audience has to be priority number one. What might get in the way of this?
- Money – You may have seen the many complaints about the loud audio, distracting animations and effects, and general in-your-faceness of the advertising at Digg? It got to the point where Kevin Rose had to step in and pledge to sort it out. If a site of the scale of Digg can have a member revolt over advertising, you can be sure a blog is not going to survive anti-reader advertising. Rip-off affiliate links and insincere reviews are also a real danger.
- Ego – When it is all me-me-me rather than focused on what readers need, want, enjoy, then you have slipped away from what attracted your readers in the first place. It’s simple, give them what they want
- Promotion – Are those link-swaps in your blogroll helping your reader? Did that linkbait attract abusive comments along with the spike in traffic? Will that headline mislead people into clicking? Do you really need those sexy avatar pictures? It sometimes amazes me what people will do to attract new visitors without a concern for their existing subscribers.
- Widgets – Some bloggers are like magpies – ooh, shiny! Yes, by all means experiment with the latest doodad, but do not fill your blog with them to the detriment of your content.
There are probably many more distractions that you can think of. The fact is most blogs are started with a goal in mind, to make money, market a business, personal branding, etc. Our initial motivation might not be to “attract and appeal to an audience”, that challenge is often just the means to an end. Without working for our audience though we will never achieve what we set out to do.
Before you reap any rewards, with blogging you have to serve your audience. That means putting readers first.